In September 1999, the ACLU-NJ filed a state constitutional challenge to the Parental Notification for Minors Seeking Abortion Act. The Act requires a physician to notify a parent at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor. In August 2000, the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down the Act, finding that it violates the state constitutional guarantees of privacy and equal protection. In particular, the Court focused on the fact that pursuant to this law, a pregnant minor who decides to carry her pregnancy to term can make all medical decisions about her prenatal care and childbirth, including the decision to undergo major surgery like a cesarean section, without her parent's knowledge or involvement, but a pregnant minor who decides to terminate her pregnancy may not do so unless her parent is notified or she obtains a judicial waiver of the notification requirement. The Court held that this kind of differential treatment of the decision to carry a pregnancy to term and the decision to have an abortion cannot be justified by any compelling state interest and thus violates the state constitutional guarantee of equal protection.


Jennifer Dalven, Julie Sternberg, Catherine Weiss/ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project


New Jersey Supreme Court